I've had this conversation with a good buddy of mine a couple of times lately, and got to thinking it'd make for good posting.
Do you know what you are missing?
One of the things that really makes healthy habits stick with you is they way they help you feel. If you feel better, there's a greater likelihood that you'll keep doing whatever it is that's working.
If you feel like crap lately, because of an obvious injury or illness or general sense of malaise, and you remember feeling better... then you know there's room for improvement.
But wait, what about the person who has never really felt good? How will that person know that there's a better way to feel? What's the motivation for this person to try a different, healthier lifestyle, without having a sense of what he or she has been missing?
How about the person who believes they are doing all they can with activity and good eating and clean living, and who believes that however they feel is as good as it's going to get?
I hereby posit the theory that you can feel better. Wherever you are coming from. There is no single perfect choice to make, no magic bullet which will work exactly the same way for everyone who tries it, but you can change something. And if that change helps you feel better, it's a good change to stick with.
Some people aren't active enough, or aren't finding the optimal balance of flexibility, stability, strength, and endurance to feel better. It's not hard to find someone to help you figure out which of those things you need more -- hint hint -- so get going and get stretching, stabilizing, strengthening, and/or enduring.
Some people are zipping along on the road to Burnout. Coming down with colds and flu and recurring injuries, seemingly out of nowhere. Low energy when they need it most, mood swings, foggy brained, these are very common signs among the overactive and/or undernourished. A few of these people are just plain overactive.
And there's more than a few people who are doing really well with their activities and not quite so well with their food choices.
Maybe you have a crappy diet and you know it. You really can't exercise your way out of a crappy diet.
"Alright already," you say, "give me an example."
A friend joined her husband on a 10 day clean eating campaign. The motivation for hubby was to lose a bunch of weight and get healthier. The motivation for her was to encourage him to follow through with it. She didn't happen to need to lose weight. In addition to learning a half dozen new ways to prepare quinoa (ooooohhh!!!) she found herself sleeping better. And we all know sleeping better is crucial to something like a million different health benefits.
I exaggerate sometimes. It's more like a thousand different health benefits. (And yes, he lost a bunch of weight -- 20 pounds at last count.)
Another client of mine decided to get serious about losing weight, so she stopped eating wheat products and cut back on snacking between meals. She has a family history of gluten allergy, but although she doesn't have that allergy, there are other components of wheat to which people can be sensitive. And she lost 14 pounds in a just couple of months.
Want to hear an example from my own life? I've got a million of 'em. That's not an exaggeration. I've been that overactive person, for instance. The second or third time I trained for a marathon, I followed a training program that required 5 or 6 days a week of running. Weekdays runs of anywhere between 3 to 10 miles, with a long weekend run. This was all on top of training with clients and teaching 10 or so classes a week. I could not eat enough, I could not sleep enough, I was cranky and tired and light headed and I never followed that regimen again.
Then there was the underactive phase. Due to a hip injury, I had to lay off any and all cardio and resistance training activity for a few weeks. It was several fierce mood swings and some serious listlessness before I realized that my lack of activity was making me feel extremely lousy.
And if you know me at all, you must have already heard my tale of woe about quitting dairy products. You haven't heard? Okay, well, I was feeling pretty good at the time, really. But I had read one article too many about toxic exposure to antibiotics and pesticides and so on from dairy products. Because whatever the cow consumes makes its way into you, the meat and dairy consumer. So I told myself, cheese-a-holic that I was, to just cut out the cheese and the yogurt for a week or so, to see if I felt any tangible benefit. And if I didn't, I could just climb right back aboard the cheese train.
But I felt several tangible benefits. Abdominal bloat, gone. (Before this, I swear, I never had a flat stomach in my life.) Weird digestion, gone. Allergic congestion (in Savannah!), gone. Slept better. Skin cleared. Dropped 5 pounds. All that, in a week.
Also found, eventually, that my PMS symptoms went away. No menopause symptoms yet either, but stay tuned. Especially if you like TMI -- too much information.
Do you know what you're missing? Wouldn't it be nice to feel better? Take just one step -- and let me know if it works.